Displaying items by tag: Economy

Tesla to increase prices and keep several stores open

Written on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 07:59

Tesla is planning to increase prices by 3% on all cars except for the new mid-market Model 3.

Recently, Tesla said it would close down several stores in order to pay for a cut in the price of the Model 3 in the US to USD $35,000. The amount of stores to be closed down were not previously specified but Tesla has said that it now plans to close down “about half as many” stores as it makes half the cost savings.

The car manufacturer stated that if more stores were to be kept open, then the prices of their vehicles would have to increase by an average of about 3% worldwide.

Tesla has 378 stores and service locations worldwide but did not identify which ones would be closed.

A company spokesperson stated: “Over the past two weeks we have been closely evaluating every single Tesla retail location, and we have decided to keep significantly more stores open than previously announced as we continue to evaluate them over the course of several months.”

Tesla is planning to conduct online purchases which they claimed would take just a few minutes. The company said that buyers in store will be shown how to buy a Tesla online through their smartphones. They previously stated that if online sales were to increase, it would cause prices to decrease by an average of 6%.

In an attempt to convince customers to purchase their cars online, they said that it had a “generous returns policy” whereby the customer will be able to return a car after 1,000 miles or within seven days. This has been done to significantly decrease the need for test drivers.

Tesla has also said that some of its recently closed stores that used to be in “high visibility locations” will be reopened but with smaller amounts of staff and less cars.

The previous year has been “the most challenging” year in Tesla’s history as a business. The company has been attempting to cut costs as much as possible. In January, they announced a 7% job cut, equating to 3,000 job cuts.

Back in January, company founder Elon Musk stated that the company’s cars were still “too expensive for most people”.

He has been subject to a great deal of controversy over his tweet. Last month, he was held in contempt of court upon the request of the US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, for violating a settlement month which was aimed at limiting his usage of social media.

This issue is due to his previous tweets about the company’s financial situation and some tweets from august last year in which he claimed he secured funds to make the company private.

Mr Musk has until today to officially respond.

Published in Finance

Taiwanese electronic colossus Foxconn has now admitted that it is currently reassessing its plans to invest in a new $10bn factory in Wisconsin.

When first announced it was hailed as a significant win for US President Donald Trump who had promised rust-belt states that he would breathe new life into the manufacturing sector and create millions of jobs.

However, that deal now may be dead in the water due to the ongoing dispute between Beijing and Washington that is becoming increasingly toxic. 

Foxconn manufactures devices and components for a host of the world’s leading technology leaders including Apple, and had previously unveiled its plans to build the $10 billion plant to make LCD flat screen televisions which would also in turn create around 13,000 new jobs.

The investment was vetoed by $4bn in controversial tax concessions which were embraced by Trump who said the deal was another illustration of his campaign promise which was to put America ‘first’ again. Trump has also tried to strong arm other tech giants like Apple offering them tax breaks if they move manufacturing back to the United States.

Trump appeared with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou at a groundbreaking ceremony proclaiming and stated that, "This is just the beginning. This is one of the largest plants in the world."

However, the global economic climate roiled by Trump's trade war with China where Foxconn has most of its assembly lines -- has led officials at the Taiwanese company to look again at the plans.

"The global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed. As our plans are driven by those of our customers, this has necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects, including Wisconsin," Foxconn said in a statement Thursday.

However, Foxconn has moved swiftly to deny it’s pulling out of the proposed investment and released an official statement saying it is remained committed to building its science park in Wisconsin and wants to help create 13,000 jobs". 

Woo told Bloomberg, "We’re not scrapping our plans at all. However, given the global economic conditions and the trade tensions between China and the US, its’ impossible to say that we can always stay committed to our original plan without any change."

Published in Government

Irish capital is Europe’s data hub

Written on Thursday, 24 January 2019 12:28

A new industrial revolution is underway in the heart of the Irish capital as clusters of warehouses housing vast quantities of data continue to emerge.

Dublin has really embraced technology in an effort to boost its flagging and shrinking economy following the global crash in 2008. Internet behemoths such as Facebook, Apple and Google all have their European HQ’s in Dublin and the city has become the continent’s No.1 data hub.

A familiar term within the ICT ecosystem is that ‘data is the new oil’ and will fuel the global economy. Those sentiments were echoed by Brian Roe, Commercial Director of Serve-Centric, which is a data center company.

Roe said, “Data is the new oil, definitely.  These powerhouse developments provide 24/7/365 access to the massive data, processing power and storage that digital services around Europe require. People are saying, ‘Well everything is going to come from the cloud’.  Well where's the cloud? The cloud is data centers."

Ireland’s industry lobby group Host has said the new phenomenon has become the unlikely engine room for everything from video streaming to phone apps and social media.    

In addition to this, progressive government incentives, a highly-skilled workforce and high connectivity to Europe and America are helping attract data center construction investment which is expected to reach nine billion euros ($10 billion) by 2021.

The sector employs 5,700 people in full-time equivalent roles including 1,800 as data center operators, according to a report produced for Ireland's investment agency. Many of Ireland’s brightest young talent were forced to emigrate after the recession, but many are no returning to avail of the exciting new opportunities presented by Dublin’s transformation into a tech hub.    

Data has become a hot topic in Europe following the introduction of GDPR. Enterprises have been forced to examine their data harvesting and storage practices in a more forensic manner. Consumers have also now been awakened to the dangers of providing their data online following the high-profile Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal which emerged last year. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- which provides cloud services for hire -- is a particular concern for Paul O' Neill, a researcher based at Dublin City University. "The ethical implications of hosting AWS data centers in Ireland are potentially vast," he said.

AWS, which has announced plans to expand its Dublin operations, sells controversial facial recognition technology to US police.

"These corporations are or have been involved in many of the dominant controversies and debates of our contemporary networked era including privacy, data breaches and surveillance.”

Published in Infrastructure

South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics has announced its plans to invest 21.4 trillion won ($18.6 billion) into South Korea in an effort to strengthen and extend its lead in memory chips and next-generation displays for smartphones. Samsung has claimed that the investment could create up to 440,000 new jobs from now until 2021 – which would significantly boost the South Korean economy.

Samsung is the world’s largest chip maker by revenue and has indicated it intends to invest 14.4 trillion won by 2021 in its new NAND factory in Pyeongtaek. In addition to this, it disclosed that it plans to invest 6 trillion won in a new semiconductor production facility in Hwaseong, but declined to elaborate further on the timing or product.

Samsung will also develop a new production line to its NAND plant in Xi’an, China, which investment analysts have suggested is in response to booming demand for long-term data storage chips. However, it has thus far not set an investment amount or time frame.

Industry experts have predicted that Samsung and other leading memory makers will post record profit in 2017 - caused primarily due to a persistent shortage and demand for more capability in smartphones and servers increase prices. Industry sources and analysts said the shortage is more acute for NAND chips due to increasing adoption of high-end storage products.

Analysts have also claimed that Samsung’s production technologies are much more mature and are at least a year ahead of its rivals such as Toshiba and SK Hynix. Samsung invests more than $10 billion in semiconductors on an annual basis, which has provided the foundations for Samsung to take the lead, and according to analysts this latest investment strategy will only widen the gap even further.

Samsung and its rivals Toshiba and SK Hynix has committed tens of billions of dollars to boost NAND output in recent years, yet analysts and industry sources have said that they believe shortages will persist through 2017 and new facilities created will not make any meaningful supply contributions until next year. However, some have suggested that additional capacity could lead to oversupply in early 2018, but that price crashes are unlikely as smartphone makers opt for greater internal storage.

"I believe NAND market conditions will continue to favor suppliers until 2020," said HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh. Any oversupply issues will be temporary and limited to seasonally weaker periods, he said.

Samsung's investment plan comes on the back of South Korean President Moon Jae-in plea for local businesses to create more jobs and help reinvigorate the economy. In China, some South Korean firms have suffered from sales decline or have been forced to scale down operations due to retaliatory measures from Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile defense system outside Seoul. However, China smartphone makers remain one of Samsung’s biggest customers and are among its biggest buyers of memory chips and displays.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Qualcomm CEO, Steve Mollenkopf has claimed that 5G will represent a revenue opportunity of around $12 trillion by 2035. Mollenkopf made the statement when he was delivering his keynote address at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. However, the CEO of the global chip giant did express his belief that we have to utilize 4G technology. He said it was imperative we made the most of 4G and focused particularly on new gigabit LTE networks.

Published in Finance

The US government has announced that it is set to refocus its efforts on examining ways in which it can help speed up the process of taking new technologies to the marketplace. The Trump administration has announced its intentions to bring together a group of drone makers, wireless companies and venture capitalists to explore practices that will enable the commercialization of these technologies in a much more streamlined fashion.

It has been confirmed that President Donald Trump will meet with the CEOs of General Electric Co, Honeywell International Incorporated and AT&T. Representatives from major drones industries and venture capitalists will also attend the meeting as part of a combined effort to focus on innovative technology in a bid to kick-start new job growth.

The White House’s deputy chief technology officer, Michael Kratsios has said the primary objective of the discussions is to drive ‘economic growth’. He said: “The goal of the session is to find ways the United States can maintain its leadership, creating and fostering entirely new technologies that will drive our economic growth."

The Trump administration has expressed its desire to promote the development and commercialization of emerging technologies – and has shown a particular interest in the development of unmanned drones and 5G wireless technologies. Some analysts have predicted that the impact of 5G will be similar to that of electricity.

The Obama administration has implemented rules and practices that enabled low-level small drones to be deployed for education, research and routine commercial use. It has been reported that the Trump administration is currently weighing up the option of expanding drone use for purposes such as deliveries where aircraft would fly beyond the sight of an operator. However, security issues would need to be resolved before such legislation could be passed.

The FAA has projected that by 2021 the number of small hobbyist drones will more than triple – whilst the commercial drone fleet will increase tenfold to about 442,000. In addition to this, last year, the FCC cleared the way for 5G - with the race to commercialize the technology underway which is expected to be deployed by 2020.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today's 4G networks. The next generation of wireless signals needs to be much faster and far more responsive to allow advanced technologies such as virtual surgery or controlling machines remotely, regulators say. The networks could help wirelessly connect devices such as thermostats or washing machines to facilitate the internet of things.

Published in Government

An Australian suburb is set to undergo a dramatic transformation from a derelict town into a 21st century metropolis. Springwood, a suburb of Logan City, is located about 20km from Brisbane – and it has remained relatively untouched since the 1990’s. However, the dreary suburban town has been identified by developers and environmental planners alike as the ideal location for an incredible new high-tech smart-city.

Council officials are using Springwood’s traditional rural charm and green-space as the foundation for their new age cityscape to be built on – in other words it will embrace ‘green mobility’. City of Logan Mayor, Luke Smith, revealed that after consultations with residents, it was made evident that they wanted planners to maintain Springwood’s origins during the construction of this amazing new project.

Mayor Smith said, “In our engagement with local residents, we were reminded just how much they value the origins of the area. Springwood’s underground springs, plentiful trees and rich loam were the basis of settlement in 1931.The founder, Harold Langford, distributed his materials far and wide, even assist­ing with construction of the Story Bridge. Under our vision, Springwood will remain a place of water and trees. It will embrace what’s known as ‘green mobility’.”

However, developers, environmental planners and council workers are all determined that this innovative smart-city project will not become the latest victim of ‘urbanization’. In many other parts of the world - similar 21st century projects have been constructed – but those smart cities have been ravaged by the issues of urbanization which has unfortunately created an ugly ‘ghetto’ type climate in so many other cityscapes across the developed world.

The exciting smart-city project will undoubtedly give Springwood a major facelift that it badly requires - not only aesthetically but economically. There has already been interest expressed in the project from a number of Chinese investors.

Mayor Smith added, “Springwood is the commercial hub of Logan, and after the Springwood Summit we had last month things are ­really starting to move. There is genuine interest from the investment community, particularly the Chinese. That is a fantastic indicator for us to see such a genuine interest already in what we know is an incredible project we’re embarking on.”

Mayor Smith illustrated the example of Portland, Oregon, USA to highlight how successful these regeneration smart-city projects can be for urban renewal. He enlisted the expertise of social and environmental planner Adam Beck who devised the strategy used in Portland.

Mayor Smith concluded by saying, “This approach of community-driven partnerships – with residents, other levels of government, and the private sector – has worked exceptionally well in Portland, and the results speak for themselves. Portland has been transformed from a waning economy and neglected neighbourhoods to an eco-friendly city, with coffee shops, microbreweries and a thriving IT sector. Take a closer look in Logan and you’ll see that’s ­already starting to happen.”

Published in Government